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Cuffs

by Coyote OReilly 3 months ago in Series
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Snapshots #2 — A Flash Fiction Action-Adventure

Source: Adobe Stock Images

Selena Beauvoir, French illusionist, amateur traceur—and known to a few, the infamous Bonaparte bandit—ran for dear life.

She hit the ledge at speed and launched into space, high above a quiet London street. The opposite rooftop loomed closer and her toes found solid ground—for a moment. A pigeon shot upward, throwing her off-balance; she plunged down, hands scrambling for purchase.

Her fingers closed on a drainpipe, stopping her fall.

Dieu merci, she thought, a sentiment discarded as the pipe broke free from the wall.

Sacre bleu! Selena scrabbled up the pipe as it tore from its anchors and leapt—and caught the lip of the building with both hands. As she pulled herself up, two women, white cardboard on their backs bearing the numbers ’07’ and ‘42’, landed nearby and ran past.

Selena followed, her own number ‘69’ allowing her to blend with the other Waterloo Women’s Speed Parkour competitors. Yet—she couldn’t escape the sensation of being followed.

Tooley Street was worse; the roadway was too wide to jump, which meant descending to street level. Which her fellow competitors were doing, using the scaffolding that mounted the building to swing, slide, and sweep their way down.

Selena hesitated. She had slipped into the race as intended, all but impossible to follow—so why the sense of foreboding?

Forgoing grace for speed, a series of leaps brought her to street level. She scurried across as curious onlookers watched her and the other traceurs. Above, she stopped to survey the surrounding rooftops. A few final athletes scampered past; other than them and the crowds below—nothing.

She moved on.

###

The Tower Bridge rose before Selena, a welcome sight. From the base, she could see the last few competitors racing up the suspension cable to the first tower, towards the finish line at the far end. With a smile, she began her ascent, up and over the first tower, to the covered walkways in between.

Halfway along the roof of the walkway, her smile faltered.

A man with a gun waited for her.

“Well, howdy there, ma’am! ‘Bout time you arrived!” His accent was American, a deep Southern twang.

“How—how did you—”

“Know you were going to be here on top of this bridge? Simple. I saw your number. Asked a fellow competitor where the finish line was.” He raised the gun. “A finish line you’re never going to see. ‘Less you return Mr. Dixon’s property.”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” Selena feigned innocence.

“Please, some credit, willya?” the American replied. “I’ve seen some sleight-o’-hand in my day, but stealing cufflinks right offa man’s wrists? That’s impressive.” He leaned forward. “But not as impressive as me. And don’t get any ideas ‘bout trying any of them parkour stun—”

The American’s gun hand swung away from Selena for a split second—which was all she needed. Her smoke bomb hit the roof. Selena ran through the billowing cloud and launched herself into the air, legs folded to her chest, a prayer on her lips.

Her prayer was answered.

Selena kicked out her legs as she emerged from the smoke. The American had moved to the edge, expecting her to parkour down; her kick took him off his feet. Selena landed, cat-like; the American disappeared over the edge.

Warily, she walked to where he’d fallen to find him clinging to the roof with one hand, the other clutching a large antenna. She moved quickly; with a flick of her wrist, she caught one of his hands in a steel cuff, then the other, leaving him bound to the antenna.

“What the hell?” the American exclaimed.

Selena knelt down. “Je suis désolé, mona mi. I am not a killer, but I cannot have you following me either.”

“You goddamn bitch. Get me out of these things!”

“Mon ami! And here I thought you were a—,” she reached for the words, “—southern gentleman.” She stepped back. “I am afraid this is ‘au revoir’, mon ami. Please, give my regards to Monsieur Dixon.”

Selena ran to the second tower, deaf to the American’s cursing. Scaling the wall, she found a spot safe from prying eyes, unzipped her fanny pack, and stuffed in the short black wig, her blonde curls falling free. False eyebrows followed. She decided to keep the lashes on.

Next, she removed her black jacket and reversed it to the coral pink side its cardboard square printed with the number ’21’. After a draught from her water bottle, she glanced at the end of the bridge and the finish line, where crowds and competitors milled about.

She began her descent.

***

“There you are! I’ve been worried sick about you!” Five-two and dark, Interpol Inspector Amy Nguyen stood in sharp contrast to Selena.

“Nothing to worry about ma cheri,” Selena said. “Just a pigeon and a loose drainpipe.”

“Mm-hm,” frowned Amy. “Well, at least I know you planted the bug—all we’ve been getting is an earful about stolen cufflinks.”

Selena shrugged innocently.

“So, let’s see them.”

“Ma cheri—”

“No. Nope. Uh-uh. Your little caper endangered my big caper. Not to mention almost getting my girlfriend caught. I want to see what was worth the risk.”

Selena started to protest, sighed, fished her water bottle out of her fanny pack, and unscrewed the lid.

“You hid them in your water bottle?”

Selena shot Amy a look, tucked the bottle under one arm and twisted the filter, which unlocked with a snap. Inside lay two silver cufflinks, each bearing an inset U-shaped gold wreath, with a gold ‘N’ set in the middle of the wreath.

Amy’s eyes widened. “Those—those aren’t—”

“They do not call me the Bonaparte Bandit for nothing, ma cherie.”

Amy shook her head. “If I had my handcuffs right now, I would so arrest you.”

“Uhmm…about those…”

“You lost my handcuffs?”

“Someone needed them more than I.”

“What am I going to do with you?”

Selena smiled. “I have some silk scarves…”

Series

About the author

Coyote OReilly

A dabbler in Flash Fiction, Coyote O'Reilly loves the challenge of writing stories in 1,000 words or less. Coyote also loves experimenting w/ different genres, from Romance and Romantic Comedy, to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and even horror.

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